A Car vs. Dog Story With A Happy Ending

The Cat World of Evil

I’m sort of a geek when it comes to obscure references (too many standup routines and HBO shows by  Dennis Miller, I guess).

So for those who don’t get it, yet, that’s a reference to Hannah Arendt in the title of her 1963 work Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of EvilWhat it means:

Her thesis is that the great evils in history generally, and the Holocaust in particular, were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths, but by ordinary people who accepted the premises of their state and therefore participated with the view that their actions were normal.

Dogs chase cats—and other dogs too. It’s part of their raison d’etre. They accept all the premises by their nature—a banality. And yea, I created that meme. A Google search for “banality of dogs” turned up squat—non-sequitur and silly. Another banality? They don’t understand cars. Didn’t evolve with them. You’re their surrogate conscience and steward for that shortcoming. You created them.

…Beatrice and I headed out Thursday evening for dinner at Opa, a Greek Restaurant in Los Gatos. It was a wonderful, sunny, in-the-70s afternoon, making its traditional quotidien transition to dusk. While driving down the street, there were people in their front yards—and  small dog. I watched it to my immediate right, slowed down, watched for any sign of movement. It was about 200 yards further down the street when I caught a peripheral, sharp movement in the rear view mirror. I initially chalked it up to the setting sun playing tricks on me; then I saw the body rolling under the car.

“I think a car just hit that dog!” I said to Beatrice.

“Turn around! We have to go back!”

Not the time for asking questions, proffering objections. You do as you’re told; it’s only a 30-second delay before you’re on the same page anyway. …It was out of context. The dog was not the 15-pounder or brown-colored one I’d slowed for and watched like a hawk. It was grey and triple the size. In the minute it took to 180 and drive a few hundred yards back, six cars had stopped, blocking the road with emergency blinkers. There would be no other “first” responders. There would be no paramedics, no ambulance, no helicopter. And Samaritan Hospital—only a 5min walk away and the surrounding clinics, only steps away—is for voters only.

There would only be a bunch of anarchists who didn’t even know it, much less begin to appreciate the fact they they were acting, in that moment, in the very best display of humanity. We got to the scene.

“THAT’S LUCKCKCKCKY!” and that was Bea screeching it.

I stopped, she jumped out. I navigated the anarchist congestion to find a place to park. It took another minute for me to get there, on scene. Our next door-neighbor’s rescue dog—a 2-yr-old bundle of silly joy—Lucky, was surrounded by four humans. The blood, while not yet making its natural course to the gutter, was nonetheless bright red and abundant. One of the four kneeling humans was petting his head while keeping pressure with his second hand on the gash in his neck. The old lady who’d hit him, after being flagged down by an anarchist up the street—feelings of underserved guilt & shame getting the best of her—stood by, offering an anarchist prayer to a perceived higher authority.

Lucky had been living his carefree life running around in the elementary school park right across the street with the people he owns standing watch. Uncharacteristically, the gate on the chain link fence was open. Lucky saw the same dog I did, only seconds after I’d seen him.

The banality of dogs.

The blood looked very bad. “How can it be that bright, that red?” I wondered. He lay there as though in shock. Obvious shallow breathing, as his diaphragm was barely giving any sign of it. While there were no dangling body parts I feared the worser: internal injuries, the silent killer. At the moment I thought that, he slowly closed his eyes and I figured he was probably gone, but at least surrounded by the human attention that’s the basic bargain a dog’s life strikes. That’s anarchy too: clean slate, a balanced P&L in the end, amongst parties who’ve been striking a mutual bargain of win-win for perhaps 30,000 years.

From the time of the accident to when he was lifted by four guys, by means of a passerby’s beach towel—into the back of his owner’s car with the son attending to the need to apply pressure to the wound and speak encouragement—was perhaps 4 minutes.

A human could only have it so “Lucky” when anarchy is derided, misunderstood, dismissed in abject and cavalier ignorance. A human would have still been waiting on “first” responders, because that’s what everyone is supposed to do, such that credit can trickle up.

Lucky was at the nearest dog hospital within about 10 minutes of the incident. Bea was distraught, weepy, recounting how much Rotor and Nuke love Lucky and that they play with each other so often. I asked her if she really wanted to continue on, to the restaurant. Perhaps a cocktail was in order at any rate. We headed over, she gradually accepted the reality and assumed, as I, that the final bad news was in store for us later that evening.

We ordered. She had calamari and spinach salad and I, classic moussaka and a Greek salad. We barely ate any of it. Packed it up, paid the bill and as we drove north up Santa Cruz, which turns into Winchester, I suggested we continue on past the right turn on Lark to stop by the dog hospital. I didn’t know the exact location but suspected about where it was, so asked Bea to search the map app on her iPhone. She gave me her typically unsatisfactory navigation directions (I’m a former navigator, at sea, and I have my standards). But we got there.

Our neighbor’s car was not in the lot. Obvious. No hope, let’s get it over with. He’ll feel no pain. Beatrice went in and I expected her to come out in seconds, hands involuntarily hiding the shame of natural tears. But she didn’t come out right away. I shut off the car, went in myself. The news: critical condition, under observation, sedated. The people he owns were sent home to wait for news on Friday morning.

When we arrived home, Bea called the neighbors. No broken bones. Bruised heart & lungs. They had to evacuate his chest cavity of air—probably what was causing the very shallow breathing. Inconclusive on the neck wound. An operation for that was expected the next day.

The neighbors dropped by Friday evening. They hadn’t even known we had stopped by the doggie hospital and I think I saw a bit of choking up over that news. But importantly, Lucky had made marvelous progress; they didn’t have to operate as the wound was in a place with massive blood vessels, no damage to the spinal cord or vertebrae, so they just stapled him up to let nature take its rerouting course. They’d brought him to the hospital waiting room to see the people he owns, but the first thing he did was spot the ubiquitous waiting room cat. Growled; barked at it.

The banality of dogs.

He was expected back home for his more extended recovery yesterday. I haven’t seen him yet, and Beatrice headed out at 5am yesterday, with our two furry masters, for a week long-visit with her folks in SoCal.

…As a final note, the neighbors had to pay $600 to get Lucky evaluated. Once determined there was a chance, it was a deposit of $3,200 on further treatment. May seem like a lot and I have zero idea of the options available beyond euthanizing had they not been able to pay. What I do know is that a human would have been $50,000 minimum, and that’s just for the first hour. And while you don’t get to euthanize humans if a friend or loved one can’t pay, you still have highly trained nurses, technicians, veterinary docs and a surgeon on call 24/7. And it’s a nice, clean, well lighted place.

Why the enormous disparity in price? That’s easy. It’s the difference between an anarchist market and a highly State-regulated system of favors for rent-seeking human hospitals and insurance companies. Few institutions can resist those goodies. Far easier to do business via a list of mandated, approved, non-transparent “schedules for services”—that patient or customer has zero knowledge of—than to engage in an anarchist, human negotiation between interested parties.

Well, at least there’s hope: Surgery Center of Oklahoma. Check out the transparent, published pricing per procedure. Check out the inspiring video.

Anarchy begins and home. Just ask your dogs.

Update: He’s home & well. Snapped this last night (Monday), 4 days since the accident. He’s not much interested in eating yet and his tail may need to be bobbed (appears to have been crushed by the tire). He’ll be just fine.

IMG 1582
He’s Lucky

Since Covid killed my Cabo San Lucas vacation-rental business in 2021, this is my day job. I can't do it without you. Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. Two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance this work I do, and if you like what I do, please chip in. No grandiose pitches.


  1. mm on March 31, 2013 at 23:26

    YES! Seriously! Mussolini’s fascism is a smarter, deadlier socialism. Secret and hidden, you think you’re free until you’re not anymore. You think you’re participating in a free market when the markets are being choked by regulations.

    At this point I wonder what will Canadian lefties do now? They can’t make fun of Americans anymore for being filled with backwards backwoods rednecked white-hooded tobacco-spitting oil-drilling D.I.Y.-leg-sawing-off-because-have-no-insurance capitalists. The U.S. has “free” healthcare now, and death taxes too (which we don’t), along with salt-less cities and mind-bogglingly poor fiscal restraint. People here didn’t like Paul Martin in the nineties when he as finance minister made massive austerity cuts, nor were some people too happy that one time when as Prime Minister he dumped something like 13 billion dollars surplus money straight into the national debt. (That’s 130 billion equivalent USD dollars stolen for the greater good as we have 1/10th your population so have 1/10th the protection $). Pretty soon Canadian liberals will want to hop the border and illegally move to California.

    I’m actually worried the U.S. will freak out like in the 1930s and pass protectionist tariffs – that basically destroyed a quarter of the Canadian economy and got us from a recession into the worst of the Great Depression. (It also messed up the U.S. economy even more) Our economies are so tied together it’s depressing seeing how much Obama is spending. Also, how is it even possible to spend that much?!… we’re talking like 2, 4, 5 trillion deficits per year? This is how Hitler got into power.

    Saddest of all, America’s founding documents are philosophically stronger than ours in terms of emphasizing freedom & decentralization.* Yet, today it’s a shadow of its former self. Hey, didn’t you guys start a war for that little piece of paper? Weren’t we technically on opposite sides?

    * We even have a meaningless “multiculturalism” clause in our charter, wtf? (but to be fair, most Canadians see multiculturalism as having a Palestinian immigrant hug a Jew while dining at a Chinese restaurant).

  2. Bill on March 31, 2013 at 12:11

    Car or Cat in the title?

  3. Bill on March 31, 2013 at 12:13


  4. mm on March 31, 2013 at 21:54

    Patients and doctors have a perverse incentive to drive costs up so long as an insurer, private or public, pays. (It’s even better if costs are hidden from doctors and patients). This is why the concept of insurance premiums and high premiums is such a genius idea and worth reading into for anyone interested in economics.

    Also, random fact: the Canada Healthcare Act in English only is maybe 8 pages long. Obamacare: 2,700 pages. Americans were comparing our “socialist” system with their “free-market” one. Liberals tend to confuse fascism with nazism when insulting people, but I think while Canada is more socialistic (or used to be) America is more traditionally fascist* – look at the Sherman Act, the police-corrupting drug-war reappropriation laws, and the strange byzantine healthcare regulations liberals forgot to mention when they were so busy trying to convince everyone that Obamacare will be like Canada’s system. It’s not. Our legislation is so efficient and devoid of control-freak clauses it’s hard to argue against the healthcare act as it doesn’t even make it illegal to run private practices (Quebec tried that, but the courts stopped them); only rising costs from the perverse incentives and the ensuing cuts will convince people to ditch it. In Ontario you already need supplemental insurance for dentists and all drug Rx. Also, Canada has a loser-pays legal system with non-insane tort laws, which in itself makes a huge difference.
    In summation: Obamacare = 2700 pages of DUDE WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!

    *Yes I am aware that Canada has some problems with fascist language police laws, especially against blonde conservatives and anyone speaking out against islamofascism, but in our defence our supreme court banned forever sharia law while America is still vulnerable for now – HA!)

  5. Richard Nikoley on March 31, 2013 at 22:00

    Wow. I bet that not 10 in a million people understand the the US is deeply fascist. I don’t even ever bring it up because people don’t even know what it means and how it differs from pure socialism.

  6. Cathy on April 1, 2013 at 17:54

    Richard, bless you and Beatrice for your kind hearts. I know that dog survived because of you two. Why do I get the feeling you two would have sought help even if you didn’t recognize the dog?

    • Richard Nikoley on April 1, 2013 at 20:35


      Thanks, but we were mere spectators giving encouragement and support and making sure to be in his vision.

      But never mind all that. I just this minute got back from next door and he’s going to be fine. Complete recovery. The only thing is his tail. May have to be bobbed, as that’s apparently the only thing the tire ran over. But it’s a wait see. He seems to be wagging it more. In any case, no big. He’ll be more like my bobbed tail ratties.

  7. Richard Nikoley on April 2, 2013 at 07:35

    Just posted an update with a photo of Lucky at the bottom of the post.

  8. Cathy on April 2, 2013 at 16:06

    Aw, he is a cutie! There are worse things than a bobbed tail. I have a tuxedo cat who had to have his tail bobbed due to an injury — it gives him character and hasn’t affected his balance one iota. He sure is a lucky dog!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.